BELGIUM – Danone, a global food and beverage company, has initiated a six-week promotion in collaboration with retailers to lower the prices of Alpro plant-based milk in Belgium aiming to stimulate the consumption of plant-based milk alternatives in the country.

This decision coincided with a recent report by NGO ProVeg International, which highlighted the price as a significant barrier to purchasing plant-based dairy alternatives in Europe.

According to the report, in 2023, plant-based alternatives in Europe had an average price premium of 25% compared to conventional meat or dairy products.

“While this is a decrease from the 53% premium observed in 2022, some European retailers have started pricing their private-label dairy alternatives on par with or lower than conventional dairy products,” the report noted.

The report also revealed that Lidl in Germany and Kaufland have adjusted the pricing of their plant-based product ranges to align with or undercut conventional dairy prices.

“It’s worth noting that the price difference for plant-based milk can be attributed, in part, to varying tax rates, with some countries charging higher value-added tax (VAT) on plant-based alternatives compared to conventional dairy.”

Danone’s campaign will run for six weeks with the goal of encouraging more consumers to try Alpro’s plant-based offerings.

According to Olivier Rabartin, Customer Development Director at Danone BeLux, the company’s mission is to transition more consumers to a “flexitarian diet,” offering healthier and sustainable eating options, even in challenging economic circumstances.

The report also revealed that Belgium has one of the highest penetration rates for plant-based milk in Europe, partly owing to Alpro’s association with the country, where the brand was founded in 1980. Alpro is a leading brand in the plant-based milk category across Europe.

“Danone’s Renew Danone initiative, which aims to stimulate growth by reviewing underperforming business segments and promoting sustainable value creation, has also reported positive momentum,” the report highlighted.

The Essential Dairy and Plant-based (EDP) business, including Alpro, witnessed a sales increase of 6.3% in Q3 and 7.2% in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the previous year. This success is attributed to the transformation initiated in Q3 the previous year.

The success and long-term impact of Danone’s campaign to reduce the price of plant-based milk in Belgium will be assessed over the next six to nine months.

The campaign aims to attract more consumers to the plant-based category and promote healthy and sustainable dietary choices, making it part of Danone’s responsible and sustainable business model.

The report also mentioned that Danone no longer maintains control over its Russian subsidiary due to it being placed under the control of Russian authorities in 2023. Sales from Russia were excluded from the recent Renew Danone report, impacting Danone’s overall performance.